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Joe Bruno’s “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 2 – New York City” is free today on Amazon Kindle

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, Drug dealers, Gangs, gangsters, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City disasters, New York City fires, New York City murder, organized crime, police, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2014 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno’s “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 2 – New York City” is free today on Amazon Kindle. It’s presently ranked #1 on in the free category of “Murder and Mayhem.”

Book description:

“Like The Don said, “Buy this book, or I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.” 

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps – Volume 2- New York City” is not a continuation of “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps – Volume 1- New York City,” but rather a complement to Volume I. Volume 2 starts in the time period of the early 1820’s, and ends in the mid 1900’s. 

This is not a book about nice people. This is a book about the lowest forms of life ever to walk the face of the earth: Mafioso, murderers, con artists, prostitutes, base street thugs, crooked politicians; people who do deliciously decadent things to other people, as easily as stepping on a roach . The exception is New York City Detective Joseph Petrosino, who took on the vicious Black Hand, but lost his life in Sicily because he wasn’t exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. 

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps – Volume 2- New York City” is not for everyone. But if you enjoy reading about people who are so unaffected about what they do, they can eat a hot roast beef sandwich minutes after slitting some poor guy’s throat, this book is definitely for you. 

Take a deep breath, fire up your Kindle, and enjoy.


Volume 2 Mobsters cover for Amazon

Joe Bruno’s “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 1 – New York City” is free today on

Posted in criminals, crooks, Gangs, gangsters, mobs, Mobsters, New York City, organized crime, police, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2014 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Bruno’s “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 1 – New York City” is free today on

“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 1 – New York City” was the runner-up in the 2013 Festivals of Words ebook awards in the category “Non Fiction.”

To grab your free copy, click the link below.


The review below appeared on the Amazon UK website.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps-Volume 1 – New York City (Kindle Edition)

“Brilliant. I was hooked from the first page. Joe Bruno has a delightful way of painting images and characters of the past. I am definitely going to download the other volumes in this series.”


mobsters cover final version



Joe Valachi – Part 4

Posted in criminals, crooks, Drug dealers, Drugs, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, labor unions, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, police, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2014 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

The Venezia Restaurant in East Harlem was still the hub of activity for New York City gangsters of all nationalities.  Instead of hooking up again with his Italian cronies, Valachi joined a mixed crew consisting of several Irish gangsters, two Jews, and two other Italians. Valachi’s new gang had guts, but they were not big in the brains department.

After doing a few jobs with his new guys, Valachi was thrust into the middle of a huge predicament.  The problem was that members of Valachi’s new crew were cracking heads with the 116th Street Italian mob, headed by Vincent Rao. Whether he liked it or not, Valachi became immersed in a conflict he needed as much as another bullet in his skull.

            One night upon entering the Venezia, Valachi was confronted by Rao, and what Rao told him made Valachi’s head hurt.

            “You got some nerve coming in here!” Rao said. “Your Irish friends shot up 116th Street last night, and you were identified driving the car!”

            “You’re crazy!” Valachi said. “I was nowhere near 116th Street last night.”

            “Well, one of our guys said he thought he made you as the driver,” Rao said. “He was sure about the Irish guys, but not so sure about the driver. But you’ve been hanging out with those guys, so it made sense that you were the driver.”

            Valachi convinced Rao he had nothing to do with the previous night’s festivities. Buying into Valachi’s prattle, Rao then had the bright idea of using Valachi for something Valachi had no stomach for.

            “Okay, let’s say it wasn’t you driving the car,” Rao said. “But these Irish guys like you. I want you to set them up for us. Will you do it?”

“I’ll think about it,” Valachi said.

Valachi did think about it, and after approaching one of his Irish crew members named Mike and questioning him about the shooting, Valachi was convinced Rao was wrong about the shooters. And besides, who did Rao think Valachi was anyway?

A rat?

Quite pissed, Valachi phoned Rao.

“Listen, Rao,” Valachi said. “From now on when you meet me, shoot me, because I’m out to shoot you guys. You asked me to do a job only a dog would do. You want me to double-cross my own friends.”

“What the hell is wrong with you?” Rao said. “We was fine last night.”

“We was not fine last night,” Valachi said. “First, you accuse me of something I didn’t do. And if I didn’t have enough things on my mind, being on bail and all that, you ask me to set up members of my own gang. Why are you picking me to pick on those guys? I don’t like it! So just watch out!”

“Jesus,” Rao said. “I just want to talk to you. Meet me at the Venezia.”

“Fuck you!” Valachi yelled. And then he hung up the phone.

Valachi was now firmly entrenched with his hodgepodge crew and definitely on the outs with the Italian 116th Street gang. In the next few months there were numerous shootouts on and around 116th Street. No gang member was killed, but two innocent schleps got caught in the gunfire and both bough the ranch. Because of the gunplay, the local police now displayed a nightly presence on 116th Street, and this was not good for business.

Valachi was delighted his new crew members had guts, but he soon became disenchanted with their way of doing things in the underworld.

“They had a lot of nerve,” Valachi said. “But no business sense.”

Instead of the relatively innocuous break-in burglaries Valachi was famous for; Valachi’s boys favored more dangerous activities, like armed robberies of anything from subway stations to banks. This was a drastic change from Valachi’s usual M.O., and if they were caught, the gangsters would be facing big time in the big house.

Finally, Valachi convinced his crew to participate in the simple robbery of a clothing store. It turned out to be a big mistake, and a seminal moment for Valachi in deciding that maybe he needed different companionship in the career of his choice.

Valachi had no trouble picking the lock on the clothing store’s front door. Then while he and several gangs members entered the store, Valachi ordered two others to stand outside the store as lookouts. After the looting was complete, Valachi ran outside and saw that his “lookouts” had a half a dozen passerby lined up against the wall, and were going through their pockets, taking cash and jewelry and anything of value.

“What the hell are you guys doing to those people?” Valachi screamed. “This ain’t no game. You do that and it ain’t a burglary any more. It’s a stickup. Them people can identify us!”

The gang jumped into two cars, and that was that.

During the getaway, one of the lookouts told Valachi. “You know, we just don’t like your kind of work.”

Valachi thought about quitting the gang. But 116th Street was off limits to him, so how could he earn a living?

This situation was solved (or Valachi thought) when Ciro Terranova put aside his artichokes for a minute, and he negotiated a true between Rao’s gang and Valachi’s.

But before Valachi could take advantage of the situation, his trial on the loft theft took place. Valachi was convicted of burglary and sent back to Sing Sing. Valachi not only had to do his new stretch, but, since he was still on parole, he had to do the rest of his first imprisonment as well.

The sum total of Valachi’s proposed prison time was three years and eight months.


Whitey Bulger - The Biggest Rat

Whitey Bulger – The Biggest Rat

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Big Rat

Joe Valachi – Part 3

Posted in criminals, crooks, FBI, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, Italian Americans, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, police, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2014 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Soon, the Minutemen grew in status, and they began hanging out at 116 Street, which was the criminal hub of East Harlem. The special meeting place for the gangsters was a hot Italian eatery called the Venezia Restaurant.

“Guys were coming there from all over the city,” Valachi said. “Besides us Italians, there were the Diamond Brothers, Legs and his brother Eddie. There were also Jewish boys, and Irish guys who came from Yorkville (the area around 86th Street on the Upper East Side). Sometimes you saw (Louie) Lepke and Gurah (Shapiro) and Little Augie (Orgen) from the Lower East Side.

But the big man on 116th Street was Ciro Terranova, the “Artichoke King.” Terranova got his nickname because he had tied up all the artichokes sold in the city.

“I don’t know where they all came from, but he was buying them all out,” Valachi said.  “Being artichokes, they hold, they can keep (not go bad). Then Ciro could name his own price, and as you know, Italians got to have artichokes to eat.”

Wanting to get back to the fame and splendor of being a crack getaway driver, Valachi broke away from the Minutemen, and he formed his own group of petty crooks. Instead of wasting the money he had received from the Minutemen’s scores, Valachi was smart enough to have started a saving account (probably under his mattress). By the time he split from the Minutemen, Valachi had enough cash to buy a 1921 Packard. This time, in case the license number was copied down by an ambitious cop after a robbery, Valachi was smart enough to use a fictitious name for the car’s license and registration,.

Valachi also got wise to a better way of breaking unto stores and businesses. Instead of initiating the theft with the noise of breaking a store window, Valachi’s new crew used jimmies and other tools of the burglary trade, which allowed them to attack more lucrative and high-tech businesses. This translated into more cash for the gang.

Unfortunately, the gang’s choice of burglary tools was not always of the finest make. This almost cost Valachi his life.

One night, during a heist of furs from a Bronx warehouse, one of the poorly made jimmies snapped in half. Figuring he could jet to East Harlem, get a new jimmy and return in no time, Valachi told his gang to jump back into his Packard. But before he could get the car into gear, Valachi heard a shot ring out.

And then the lights went out.

A passing foot patrolman had noticed the robbery in progress, and instead of yelling, “Freeze, or I’ll shoot!”  the cop started firing away.

A bullet lodged in Valachi’s head, and with another gang member taking the wheel, the Packard sped away while the cop kept firing. No one else was hit.

When the gang reached 114th Street in East Harlem, they decided Valachi was dead, and they didn’t know exactly what to do with his body. So they pushed the unconscious Valachi out of the car a few feet from the East River. Then, to make if appear Valachi had been the victim of a gangland slaying, one of the gang members emptied his pistol into the air.

An hour or so later, the gang got curious, and they circled back to where they had dumped Valachi. No one had responded to the shooting, and after further examination, the gang discovered Valachi was still very much alive. They brought him to a mob doctor, who worked on the Q.T., and after anesthetizing Valachi with a few slugs of Scotch, the doctor removed the slug from Valachi’s head, and said, “This kid won’t die. He’s built like a bull.”

The doctor was prescient. Although it did take Valachi two months to get back to normal, he went back to burglarizing whatever he could get his hands on.

“The thing that saved me was all the work I did at Sing Sing with the sledgehammer,” Valachi said. “I was in real great shape when I got shot.”

Unfortunately, Valachi’s luck with burglaries continued to go south.

Valachi entered a brief partnership with another mug named Dominick “The Gap” Petrilli. Petrilli told Valachi he had a great score concerning a silk warehouse in Upper Manhattan (whenever Valachi got involved with silk, things never went smooth). The problem was there was so much silk on the premises, they could not stuff it all into Valachi’s Packard. What they needed was another crook with another car. They got both in the name of Joe “Pip the Blind” Gagliano, who had a Lincoln of his own. Two more second-story men were enlisted for the heist, and all went smooth.

Both cars were packed and ready to go, when Valachi noticed a prone figure in the corner of the warehouse under the telephone. It turned out to be the night watchman. Valachi’s gang proceeded to do the Tarantella on the watchman’s head and body. The watchman was trying to say something, but with all the noise it was impossible to hear what he was saying. Finally, Valachi thought he heard the magic words.

He knelt down and said to the watchman, “What did you say?”

The watchman said through bloody teeth, “I said I already called the cops. What are you beating me for? You should be getting the hell out of here before the cops get here.”

Valachi thought for a second, and then he figured the watchman made sense.

“Let’s blow!” Valachi yelled at his crew.

And that they did, but not before “Pip the Blind” said goodbye to the watchman with a kick to the ribs.

The five thugs ran out of the building and jumped into the two cars. But Valachi’s car battery was dead. So they all piled into Gagliano’s Lincoln and zoomed away from the warehouse.

That should have been the end of this caper, but then Valachi got lonesome for his Packard.

The next day, Petrilli convinced Valachi that it was just plain dumb for them to leave the Packard in front of the warehouse. Besides, the needed it for other jobs. Valachi agreed, but afraid of doing the dirty work himself, he sent a pal back to the warehouse to retrieve the Packard.

Valachi tried to justify his actions.

“You got to remember, I was just getting over a bullet in the head,” Valachi said in The Valachi Papers. “And I wasn’t thinking too good.”

The man Valachi selected for the job of retrieving the Packard was the boyfriend of Valachi’s younger sister; a teenager who was barely old enough to drive. The kid took along Valachi’s sister, and as soon as they jumped inside the Packard, the car was surrounded by cops, who had been waiting patiently for someone stupid enough to retrieve a car that was just involved in a silk robbery.

Of course, Valachi was not going to let his sister take the pinch, so he turned himself in to the police the next day.

Valachi quickly made bail, and he immediately planned his next robbery.

Whitey Bulger - The Biggest Rat

Whitey Bulger – The Biggest Rat

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Big Rat

Joe Valachi – Part 2

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, Drug dealers, Drugs, FBI, FBI, Gangs, gangsters, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, murder, New York City, New York City murder, organized crime, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Joe Valachi was born on September, 22, 1904 in Manhattan’s East Harlem, a Little Italy neighborhood second in size to the one in Lower Manhattan.  At the time of Valachi‘s birth, this East Harlem neighborhood was being terrorized by the notorious Black Hand extortion crew headed by Joe “The Clutch Hand” Morello and his right-hand- man, Ignazio “Lupo the Wolf” Saietta. Ciro Terranova, called the “Artichoke King” was also in this august group, but we’ll get to him later.

Both of Valachi’s parents were born in Naples, Italy. They had 17 children, only six of whom survived infancy. Valachi was the second oldest of what was left of his parent’s brood. Not being educated, Valachi’s father worked menial jobs. He tried peddling vegetables from a pushcart, and when that didn’t pan out too well, he worked as a drudge on a garbage scow.

“My father was a hardworking man,” Valachi said. “But he drank too much and my mother always had a black eye. The neighborhood in Harlem was pretty tough in those days, and you could hardly walk around without catching a bullet.”

The Valachi family bounced around East Harlem, before finally settling at 312 East 108th Street. The two grownups and six children were cramped into a tiny three-room apartment, with no hot water and no bathtub. For blankets, Mama Valachi sewed together old cement bags. Still, it was better than sleeping in the streets, which, at the beginning of the 20th Century, was the fate of thousands of poor Italian immigrants.

There was a coal stove in the Valachi living room. It was propelled by whatever coal the Valachi family could steal, and sometimes by scraps of wood snatched off East Harlem’s sidewalks and gutters.

“My parents stored the coal and wood in the room me and my brothers slept in,” Valachi said. “It got so bad the whole room was stocked with coal and wood, and boy, was it dirty.”

Valachi’s bedroom was infested with bedbugs, and to get a good night’s sleep, Valachi sometimes sneaked out of his apartment late at night and sacked out in a wagon parked in a nearby horse stable. The floor of the wagon was hard, cold, and damp.

“But at least there were no bedbugs,” Valachi said.

Living in such squalor and having no way to bathe, the Valachi family often availed themselves of the bathhouse on 109th Street and Second Avenue.

“To get into the bathhouse sometimes the line would be a block and a half long,” Valachi said. “Then when you were in the baths, they would give you only so much time, and you had to get out of there. Believe me, it wasn’t much time.”

As far as his formal schooling, Valachi was an habitual truant with a penchant for violence.

“I was supposed to go to school, but to be honest about it, I didn’t,” Valachi said. “Once I was picked up by a truant officer, but all I got was a warning. Then when I was eleven I hit a teacher in the eye with a rock. I didn’t mean to do it; I was just trying to scare her.”

After being arrested for the rock-throwing incident, Valachi was shipped off to the New York Catholic Protectory, which was a home for wayward boys, or for orphans. There, Valachi was shocked and dismayed when he discovered some of the brothers who ran the Protectory had hand trouble with the boys, in more ways than one.

“You wouldn’t believe what some of them were like; fooling around with the young kids,” Valachi said. “I don’t want to get into that. But most of them were just tough.”

The toughest brother was Brother Abel, who was not shy about roughing up the boys more than just a little bit. Brother Abel ran the tailor shop and the Protectory, and he would use his tape stick to correct a child, even for the smallest infractions.

“He would lay into us with that tape stick something awful,” Valachi said. “It didn’t matter if we did anything wrong or not. The best thing to do was to stay out of his way, unless you were looking for a beating.”

One day, while Valachi was still a resident at the New York Catholic Protectory, Brother Abel had the good grace to die. His body was laid out in Protectory’s chapel. This turned out not to be a smart thing for the heads of the Protectory to do.

“There were about 300 of us kids lined up to pay our last respects to Brother Abel,” Valachi said. “I was near the end of the line and when it came my turn to view the body, I almost fainted. Brother Abel’s chest was all filled with spit, so what could I do? I spit on him too.”

When Valachi was 14-years-old, he was released from the Protectory. Valachi immediately got a job with his father working on the garbage scow. This didn’t last too long, because after just a few weeks dealing with garbage, Valachi figured he could make more money stealing than he and his father could make, combined, working on the garbage scow.

By the time he was 18, Valachi was a charter member of a second-story gang called “The Minute Men.” The gang gave themselves that name because they claimed they could burglarize an apartment, or a business, in a New York minute. Valachi rarely took part in the actual burglary, but because he was so good behind the wheel of a car, he was known as a crack getaway driver.

“The Minute Men were the talk of the underworld,” Valachi said. “We were real cowboys. The other gangs envied us. When we were bouncing around town to different cabarets, people who ask who our wheelman was, because we never got caught. When my pals pointed me out as the guy, I got bought a lot of drinks.”

Valachi got his first taste of hard time as the result of a robbery gone awry at a silk distributor on 177th Street and Tremont Avenue in the Bronx. Valachi’s was driving a Packard touring car with three of the gang in tow when he stopped in front of the sore. The gang had cased the joint for several weeks. Since the store didn’t have a Holmes Alarm System, they figured it would be a cinch to break the window, jump inside the store, grab as much silk as they could in approximately 60 seconds, and jam that silk into Valachi’s car.

As the crew exited the store, Valachi spotted a police car in his rear view mirror. After his three pals piled into the car, Valachi felt a gun pressed against the side of his head.

A cop named Slater barked at Valachi, “I finally got you after three years. Get out of the car!”

However, Valachi was not itching to be taken.

After telling Slater he would fully cooperate, Valachi made a motion like he was exiting the car. Then, he suddenly dove under the dashboard, and with his right hand still on the wheel, he hit the gas with his left hand. The car screeched away from the curb, and Slater, along with the occupants of two more police cars that had descended upon the area, commenced firing. The Packard’s windows were completely blown out, and Valachi was hit in the arm. But still he would not stop.

Doing 80 miles per hour, Valachi sped through the Bronx and headed towards the Willis Avenue Bridge, which connects the Bronx with Valachi’s East Harlem neighborhood in Manhattan. With three police cars in hot pursuit, Valachi barreled down the Grand Concourse, dodging in an out of traffic, until he reached the Willis Avenue Bridge.

Valachi zipped across the bridge, and he zigzagged through the narrow Manhattan one-way streets, some of which he drove down the wrong way.  Finally, Valachi stopped on a side street, and he looked behind him. No police cars were in sight.

Valachi checked his injured arm, and he saw that the bullet had passed through flesh and had exited the other side without striking bone.

Valachi was only slightly injured and safe at home. Or so he thought.

The Minute Men might have been quick, but they also were stupid. Instead of using bogus license plates, the crooks had slightly bent the plates on the car, figuring by doing this the cops would get a distorted read on the plates.

That didn’t happen.

The car was registered to Valachi, and the police arrested him the following day at his apartment.

Valachi, not yet being a canary, dummied up, and he refused to name his accomplices. This led to a six-week stay in the Bronx County jail, after which Valachi was brought to court. Valachi’s lawyer, Dave Goldstein, had a few tricks up his sleeve. First, he told the court that his client would plead guilty to “attempted robbery.” 

The persecutors and the judge seemed ready to go along with the plea, until the owner of the silk store stood up in court and screamed, “What do you mean ‘attempted robbery.’ I lost over $10,000 in silk. Where’s my silk?”

At the advice of his counsel, Valachi spoke up in court.

“I threw it into an empty lot,” Valachi said.

The “attempted robbery” charge went out the window, and Valachi was nailed with the charge of “armed robbery.” 

Valachi, against on the advice of his attorney, pled guilty.

Luckily for Valachi, Goldstein knew how to maneuver in court to the advantage of his client.

Because Valachi was under twenty-one, the judge had the choice of sending him to the Elmira Reformatory for 18 months, for which Valachi had to do the entire eighteen months. But Goldstein thought Valachi would do better if the judge sentenced his as an adult.

The guidelines for adult sentencing were one year and three months to two years and six months. Goldstein figured Valachi, because this was his first offense, would get near the low end of the guidelines. This meant that with time off for good behavior, Valachi would actually get a sentence of only 11 months in prison. Since, Valachi would get credit for the time he had already spent in the Bronx County Jail, Valachi could be back on the street and earning is about nine months.

While Valachi was awaiting sentencing, Goldstein instructed Valachi how to trick the judge into treating Valachi like an adult. Goldstein told Valachi that on the day of his sentencing he was to strut into court like a gangster peacock. Goldstein figured the judge would be so annoyed at the 20-year-old Valachi’s attitude, he’d sentence him to prison instead of the reformatory.

Goldstein was right, but for the wrong reason.

The judge watched as Valachi played the role of a devil-may-care gangster to the hilt. Valachi swaggered into court, and while he stood before the judge, Valachi kept hunching his shoulders up and down like he saw the actors do in the silent mobster movies popular at the time.

The judge was not impressed.

“You think you’re fooling me with that tough guy act?” the judge told Valachi. “Well you’re not. But I’m going to give you just what you want. I’m going to send you where you want to go. And you know why? Because the sooner you’re out of prison, the sooner be in front of me again in court.”

Soon, Valachi was a resident at Sing Sing Prison and not too happy about his circumstances. For some reason, it took ten days for the prison staff to process Valachi into the system, and those ten days were no picnic. Valachi was shoved into a tiny cell, with no sanitary facilities, except for a small bucket which was emptied once a day.

But as soon as Valachi entered gen-pop, he was shocked by the amenities.

One night, soon after Valachi’s arrival, the Broadway musical, The Planation Review, was staged for the cons.

“I had such a great time, I couldn’t believe I was at Sing Sing,” Valachi said.

Valachi’s prison job was the standard gig of sledgehammering big rocks into little rocks, and the burly Valachi got himself into the best shape of his life.

But all good things must come to an end, and after he did the minimum nine-month stay at Sing Sing, Valachi was released onto the streets, and soon he was back with the Minutemen. In his absence, the Minutemen had gotten themselves a new driver, so instead of the glory of driving getaway, Valachi was reduced to the grunt work, like throwing garbage cans through store windows.


Whitey Bulger - The Biggest Rat

Whitey Bulger – The Biggest Rat

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Big Rat

Joe Valachi – Part 1

Posted in Cosa Nostra, criminals, crooks, Drug dealers, Drugs, FBI, FBI, gangsters, Italian Americans, mafia, mobs, murder, New York City, New York City disasters, New York City fires, New York City murder, organized crime, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Valachi, Joe “Cago” - He was the first stool pigeon to break the Italian mob’s vow of “omerta” – their sacred code of silence.


Joe Valachi knew he was a marked man.

In 1962, Valachi, a dense thug with a long rap sheet, had been convicted of narcotics trafficking and had been nailed with a 15-year prison sentence. Valachi was sent to the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was housed with about 90 other “wiseguys,” or “made men” in the Italian mob, incorrectly called the Mafia by law enforcement (The Mafia exits only in Sicily).

Yet, Valachi had unwittingly incurred the wrath of his boss, Vito Genovese, who was also serving time in the same Atlanta pen, also for narcotics trafficking. Genovese pulled some strings, and Valachi found himself in the same prison cell with Genovese. Though entirely innocent of the charges, Valachi was branded a rat.

One night, Genovese told Valachi a parable with a pointed meaning.

“You know, Joe,” Genovese said. “Sometimes, there’s one bad apple in a barrel of apples. You have to get rid of that apple, or it will hurt the rest of the apples.”

That said, Genovese planted a kiss on both of Valachi’s cheeks. This was the chilling “Kiss of Death,” and Valachi knew his days were numbered.

Already, Valachi had escaped three attempts on his life. The first was when he was offered food  by another inmate which Valachi knew to be poisoned. When Valachi didn’t bite, he was cornered in the shower, but he managed to escape before a prison shank could be inserted between his ribs. Then, while he was in the prison courtyard, an inmate tried to goad Valachi into a fist fight. Valachi knew if that happened, in the confusion of the roaring crowd, he could be stabbed to death quite easily.

Valachi then ran up to the head of the prison guards, and he demanded that he be put into the “hole,” or solitary confinement. When the prison guard asked why Valachi was making such a shocking request, Valachi told him, “Someone’s going to kill me, or get killed. Is that enough for you?”

Valachi’s request was granted, but after a few weeks in the hole, without any explanation, Valachi was sprung from solitary and released back into the general prison population. Valachi figured that Genovese had pulled a few strings again, and it was only a matter of time before he was executed by a Genovese underling.

So with his head on a swivel, at approximately 7:30 a.m. June 22, 1962 , Valachi spotted who he thought to be Genovese Crime Family enforcer, Joe “Joe Beck” DiPalermo, in the courtyard. Valachi could think of only one thing – DiPalermo was there to kill him, and it was time for Valachi to make a preemptive strike of his own.

Being caught by surprise, Valachi had no weapon with which to defend himself. Suddenly, he spotted a two-foot long piece of metal pipe lying on the ground. Valachi snatched the pipe off the ground, rushed up behind “Joe Beck,” and he repeatedly cracked his skull, until the victim’s white brain matter seeped onto the floor of the courtyard.

Valachi explained his actions in The Valachi Papers by Peter Mass.

“I was out in the yard by the baseball diamond, “Valachi said. “All of a sudden I saw three guys behind the grandstand looking at me. They were about 50 yards away. Then they started towards me. I had my back against the wall. There was some construction work going on, and I saw a piece of pipe lying on the ground. Just as I picked it up, figuring that if I’m going to go, they’re all going to go, a guy waked by and said, ‘Hello, Joe.’ I looked up as he passed me. He looked just like Joe Beck, so I said to myself I might as well take him too.”

Unfortunately,  the poor sap with the cracked skull was not Joe Beck, but an innocent soul named John Joseph Sapp, a simple forger who had absolutely no connections to organized crime.

This is when Joe Valachi decided there was no downside to him becoming a rat, and he began singing a sweet tune the federal prosecutors were delighted to hear. 

Whitey Bulger - The Biggest Rat

Whitey Bulger – The Biggest Rat

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Another 5-star review for “Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set.”

Posted in criminals, crooks, famous trials, Gangs, gangsters, mafia, mobs, Mobsters, New York City, New York City fires, New York City murder, NY City disasters, organized crime, police, reality TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2014 by Joe Bruno's Blogs

Another 5-star review for “Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set.”

Still available on Amazon Kindle for only $2.99.


5.0 out of 5 stars *****
Joe Bruno’s Mobsters!!

April 9, 2014
By Alfonse Corleone
Amazon Verified Purchase

This review is from: Joe Bruno’s Mobsters – Six Volume Set (Kindle Edition)

“Quickly put, any book by Joe Bruno buy!!! They all our excellent A+++++++ and shows the life as a Mobster back in the good old days.”


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